Human coronavirus vaccine trials to start this week in the UK


The British government is providing funding for the two clinical trials.

Though Hancock warned: "Nothing about this process is certain, vaccine development is a process of trial and error and trial again, that's the nature of how vaccines are developed". The vaccine work began in January and is being developed by clinical research teams at the University of Oxford's Jenner Institute.

Mr Hancock revealed in a daily briefing that the vaccine trial from Oxford and the other one at Imperial College London were going to get £20 million each from the government.

Hancock said his team is prepared to "throw everything we've got at developing a vaccine" and expressed effusive support for researchers at Oxford and Imperial.

"In the long run the best way to defeat coronavirus is through a vaccine".

The vaccine being trialled is called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) from chimpanzees that has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to grow in humans.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, German regulatory body PEI green-lighted the country's first trials on human volunteers for a vaccine developed by German firm Biontech and USA giant Pfizer.

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Prof. Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the study, said her team was already working on coronavirus vaccines past year in preparation for an outbreak of "Disease X", so once the disease hit, they were able to work "unusually quickly". "We've put more money than any other country into the global search for a vaccine".

The health secretary, who has been at the forefront of the UK's response to the outbreak, also announced further United Kingdom government investment in manufacturing capability, "so that if either of these vaccines safely works, then we can make it available for the British people as soon as humanly possible".

Meanwhile, a total of 17,337 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospitals in Britain, an increase of 828 on the figure published 24 hours earlier, health ministry data showed.

More than 70 COVID-19 vaccines are now in development worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

But the Cabinet minister said the government's plan to control the rapid spread of the virus and prevent the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) from being overwhelmed is working as the number of hospitalisations with COVID-19 was showing a downward trajectory.

"We have started "at risk" manufacturing of this vaccine, not just on a smallish scale. but with a network of manufacturers in as many as seven different places around the world", said Adrian Hill, a professor and director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, Reuters reported.